Voter apathy means golf complex goes ahead

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A referendum has failed to derail plans for a large golf complex that could change the face of Croatia’s ancient walled tourist resort of Dubrovnik.

Officials said that the plebiscite failed because only 31 per cent of Dubrovnik voters had cast their ballots on Sunday. The official requirement for the vote to be valid is at least a 50 per cent turnout.

The result means the €1.1 billion (£930 million) golf course designed by Australian legend Greg Norman – which includes villas, hotels, tennis courts, a horse-riding club and restaurants – will be built on the rocky Srdj hill above the historic town.

“Golf will be played on Srdj after all,” said Maja Frenkel, the head of Razvoj Golf, the main investor group behind the project.

The referendum was only the third such vote in Croatia after it voted in 1991 to secede from Yugoslavia, and last year to join the European Union. This was the first organised by a group of citizens, and not the government.

“Of course we can’t be happy with the outcome,” Igor Miosic, a referendum organiser, said.